Empowering Tastemakers

Inside Fashion at Khayr Co.

This new section of our blog puts the spotlight on tastemakers behind rising and established brands in our fashion industry.

We had a chat with UmmulKhayr, the creative mind behind Khayr Co. to learn about her work, motivation behind the brand and the journey so far. Khayr, an Arabic word meaning admirable or of “superior quality” is a brand for the fun-loving dress-up snob. The brand seeks to provide minimalist but colorful designs at pocket-friendly rates.

What sparked your interest in Fashion?

I’ve always been subconsciously interested in fashion, even if I didn’t realize it earlier. I was always doodling dresses and other stuff in my notebooks from when I was in university. Even before I knew what it was all about, I used to pick color combos for my friends and arrange their outfits for them. I was the girl that was always like that skirt, with that too?  No way! I have this matching top that would totally look better”. So I guess I’ve always been into fashion.

Are you self taught or did you go to Fashion School?

I would say a little bit of both. I started with learning stuff by watching YouTube videos and buying fashion books. My mum then encouraged me to enroll for a 6-month basic sewing course at the Women Development Center in Abuja. From then on, it’s been one book or tutorial after another and I’ve not looked back since then.

What inspires your work?

You see, personally, I’m not really a ribbons and gathered skirts” kinda girl so when I first started designing and making my own clothes, I only just cared about outfits that I would be comfortable in.

What are you currently working on?

The new collection is called JUXTAPOSE. Just like its name, it’s a combination of different shapes, colors and ideas. Juxtapose because from trend forecasts for the year, the 90s are back (inserts dancing smiley). The 90s represent a break from the typically more fitted look and we decided to create a line reminiscent of how we’d rock those looks in the current environment . Figuratively, the Juxtapose Collection is also a direct representation of the difference between our fashion tastes and what we can afford to wear.

Tell our readers about your creative process?

Making a collection starts pretty early for me. I subscribe to a few trend forecasting channels and blogs and follow almost all of the fashion weeks so I’m able to determine the top fashion trends for a particular season in a year. But as a small enterprise with limited funds, labor, and all; I’m not able to produce 4 collections per year, YET.

After determining the trends, I usually do a little crowdsourcing to know what my potential customers are into so as to filter what would be included in the sketches made for the collection. I have a carefully selected group of people I trust with illustrations before production who fit my customer profile, and they also help me fine tune the designs before I begin production of the collection.

“After determining the trends, I usually do a little crowdsourcing to know what my potential customers are into”

What is the most challenging part of being a Tastemaker?

Sigh. Fabric shopping!!!

How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style, I’d say Dress-Up Snob”. My dressing is unpredictable, I just throw on whatever is on top in my wardrobe and that’s a lot of long shirts, jackets and free dresses that I can ALWAYS  put on jean trousers under!

Do you follow a motto, any words you live by?

I don’t want to be cliché and start quoting some person, so I’d say it’s “Eyes front”. I repeat that to myself all the time because I’m easily distracted by happenings around me and need to be reminded to stop worrying about what other people are doing and focus on myself.

What would you like to achieve by the end of the year?

Wow, I have a lot of goals for this year. But most importantly, I would like to get better at illustrations, attend the LFDW, and produce a collection I’ll be mega-proud of (not like the ones so far have been bad). So in short, improvement in myself and my work!

Which Tastemaker do you look up to?

Aww! That’s a tough one, but I’ll say Donna Karan. I kinda interpreted her line as wearable professionalism for the modern woman. Her first collection “Seven Easy Pieces” is such an inspiration. I hope I’d be able to get the mix and match thing soon.

To learn more about UmmuKhayr and Chair Co. Follow the brand on Instagram and Twitter. Don’t forget to subscribe and be the first to know when new interviews are up on the blog.

Comments (3):

  1. Zainab Ayodimeji

    June 6, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Great interview. The juxtapose collection is such a beautiful and trendy collection. I’m definitely looking forward to more from Khayr Co.

  2. Hanifa

    June 6, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Nice one sis, triple dose of inspiration

  3. Ameenah

    August 28, 2017 at 7:19 am

    You are too much dear❤❤❤


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